What Is Runner’s Knee?
Runner’s knee, also known as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, or PFPS, is one of the most common injuries runners experience, usually affecting women more often than men. Although there is no clear definition, runner’s knee typically refers to pain around the front of the knee and knee cap (patella), possibly caused by irritation of the surrounding tissues, or friction of the knee cap on the thigh bone (femur) from tilting or tracking of the knee outside of its normal groove.
What Does It Feel Like?
Oftentimes, what runners notice is a dull pain in the front of the knee while sitting for a long time and/or a sharp pain in the front of the knee with bending and squatting movements. Additionally, runners often notice swelling of the knee after running, pain when going up and down stairs and hills, or pain that increases with increased activity but improves with rest.
- Tight muscles
- Weakness in the hips
- Rapid increase in mileage
- Striking with the foot too far away from the body
What Can You Do?
- Strength Training: A good way to improve your running is incorporating strength training into your routine. Strength training is important to reduce your risk for injury. Include exercises that strengthen the glutes, quads, and hamstrings in your normal workout routine.
- Proper Warm-up & Cool Down: Make sure that you are properly warming up and cooling down before and after your run. We suggest a dynamic warm-up before the run, followed by gentle stretching after your run to cool down.
- Gradual Increase in Mileage: Make sure that you are not increasing your mileage too quickly so that your muscles have time to adapt and recover. A conservative method is a 10% increase in total mileage per week.
- Watch Your Form: Some runners experience knee pain from striking with the foot too far in front of their body when they run. If this is something that you notice on yourself, try to either increase your cadence (steps per minute), or land with the foot closer to your body.